Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dusting off the mobile chicken coop

Something interesting always seems to happen when I miss a day at work. On Monday, one of the sheep gave birth and no one even knew she was pregnant. This sheep, named Charlotte is BFFs with another sheep named Madeline and they are isolated away from the other goats and sheep. Why you ask? Because Madeline belongs to someone else and we board her. Madeline used to have a friend but he was old and died last year, so I guess we lent her a friend or something like that. So, apparently, the lady who boards her sheep with us saw that Charlotte had a little lamb and freaked because she thought she was attacking it. She had her dog with her which was barking and scaring the bejesus out of the mother. At the same time she was trying to force feed Charlotte a carrot (just in case the sheep was hungry and confused its baby for food?) Come on. Only rabbits do that! I guess she was well meaning and all, but she probably did a great deal more to frighten the mother than anything else.

The last two days have been beautiful and sunny. We are using this time to clear up all the fallen tree branches, hidden away under the snow. This morning I spent sometime in the greenhouse. We started multiple varieties of hot peppers, peppers, eggplants and tomatoes. They have cool names like Czech Black Hot Pepper, chocolate pepper or taxi yellow tomatoes. We buy our seeds from Fedco, Johnny's and High Mowing Seeds. We plan to do a few plantings of tomatoes but spaced a part a few weeks to give us a bit of a buffer in case blight sets in again this year.

In the afternoon, Dana and I were cleaning out the mobile chicken coop,aka scraping and shoveling hay mixed with poop. A mobile chicken coop is basically a coop on wheels and chickens can lay their eggs in their nest and then spend the day roaming green pastures pecking at worms. Sounds like a Sandals resort to me!
Donald and Dana cleaning out the mobile coop

Dana and I drove the truck up to the compost pile to unload. What should have been a two minute job turned into an hour job. We drove right into a muddy mess. Wheels were spinning and mud was flying. We couldn't reverse and couldn't go forward. A man in a truck just happened to stop and offered assistance but we had no rope or chain to attach to the vehicles. Dana wanted to avoid calling the guys to come and help us out. So we tried placing the hay under the wheels and digging out the front tires. We both tried and tried and were getting nowhere. Then, Donald came by and tried to help. Still stuck. At this point we had to suck it up and get the tractor up to help us. Dana and I waited for another 15 minutes and saw no one coming. We gave it one more try, but this time we put hay in front of the back tire and not just behind it. This time it worked, the tiring spinning pushed the hay undernearth and gave it the traction it needed. We got out just in time for Cale to come up the road with the tractor. Too bad we couldn't have done that before! Oh well, lesson learned.

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